By Adam PW Smith
VANCOUVER — The Vicious Cycles have been burning a black patch through rock and roll, finding the threads that link their favourite music and using them to sew their club patches onto their leather jackets.
“When rock and roll started it was supposed to be fun. People come to one of our shows to have a good time,” says lead singer Billy Bones.
They’re currently gearing up for the debut of their new release, Tiger In The Night b/w Full Leathers. That’s assuming Bones makes it to the venue, as his motorcycle has become legendary for breaking down with spectacular regularity. His band mates recite a long list of times the bike turned a short trip into an hours-long ordeal.
“My favourite was when I saw Billy trying to fix his fuel line with a piece of an old umbrella. He had a piece of wood in the spark plug line so that it wouldn’t short out,” says Norman Motorcycho, the band’s theremin and keyboard smasher.
But as Billy tells us in many of their songs, he loves his bike. The Vicious Cycles are as much about attitude as sound, and both trace a line that trails back through the history of rebel music. They combine stripped down basics with deft hooks, like if the Ramones beat up The Barracudas and stole their best bits.
“We’re not reinventing rock and roll by any stretch, but we come at it a bit different because we’re all fans of bands like Stiff Little Fingers and the Buzzcocks and Cock Sparrer and the Clash,” says Bones.
That energetic, rabble-rousing music gets mashed together with their love for motorcycles. Billy’s lyrics lay his thoughts out in foot-stomping odes to old bikes, Steve McQueen and “listening to the Mummies on the stereo.”
It’s live where the band brings it all together. Flaming theremins, revved up riffs and chest thumping stories of defiance have built an enviable cult following that is spreading down the west coast, and into Cuba, where they rode their bikes and played a show with Che Guevara’s nephew.
If you’re on your way to a VC show and see a leather-clad guy at the side of the road trying to get his bike started, please give him a ride. The show can’t really start until he gets there.
The Vicious Cycles release their latest single at The American (Vancouver) on November 10.BC, British Columbia, The American, The Vicious Cycles